Since nine states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and twenty-one more for restricted medical use, the debate about marijuana is one that can not be ignored. Margaret Goldstein’s book, Legalizing Marijuana: Promises and Pitfalls, provides a short introduction to the topic that can be read in one sitting. In addition to informative anecdotal material, the author includes just enough case studies and statistics to give an idea of the overall complexity of the problem without burying the reader in details that would be difficult to follow. A possible drawback of this approach, however, is that the author’s point of view may gain undue weight or that subtle aspects of the issue are left out.
Many features of the marijuana debate are discussed beginning with a brief history of the plant’s use and ending with possible reversal of the Trump administration’s policy regarding the enforcement of current Federal law. Other issues included are the firing of employees who fail drug tests, the problem of determining a driver’s competency to drive after using pot, the impact of legalization on drug cartels, and the threat e-joints and of overdosing on edibles especially in regard to children. The author shows that although there is no general agreement as to the health benefits of marijuana, there is general recognition of the fact that the marijuana is big business in terms of tax revenue as well as the manufacture and selling of diverse related products such as paraphernalia, processing equipment, and software for medical dispensaries. Although a change in attitude could occur, the debate over legalization is far from over and Goldstein’s book gives a good general overview of the topic.
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